I don’t know how to do things halfway.
Or said better, I don’t know how to do things halfway and enjoy it. How often are we fully engaged with what we’re doing – whether it’s conversation, reading, housework, cooking, exercise, or just paperwork? How often are we really doing our very best? And how often are we just going through the motions?
I think our heart and our spirit know when we’re doing something halfway. I think we get sick and sad when our life is made up of passive and partial commitments and actions. There’s a part of us that knows when we’ve cheated ourselves and others by bringing less than our best selves into any endeavor.
We talk about cheating on our taxes, or cheating on our partners, but how often do we cheat ourselves? How often do we give half of ourselves while the other half stands by, judging, multi-tasking, making other plans, and making excuses?
At the gym last week I watched a woman jump in the pool and swim two laps. She stopped and took a long break. She swam another lap—another long break. She flapped her arms around a little, kicked her feet a few times, and took another long break. Finally she said, “Well, that’s my 30 minutes for today,” and got out of the pool and headed for the locker room.
I wonder if part of her heart was breaking—if something deep down inside her knew she had cheated herself. I wonder if she’d had any fun, or any real positive feelings about her effort. I doubt she’ll be back to the pool more than a few times, because it can’t be very fun to cheat yourself that way.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. An old saw, and a good one.
YOUR PATH FORWARD: Choose a single day in which you have a variety of activities on your schedule. Create reminders for yourself – perhaps a sticky on your computer and your notebook, and an hourly chime on your watch – to ask yourself over the course of the entire day, “How fully am I engaged in this activity? How much of myself am I bringing to it?”